The Senate Intelligence Committee is looking into whether Sen. Ted Cruz disclosed classified information during Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate.
“The question had been raised therefor I asked them to look at it and see if there was any validity to it,” Committee Chairman Richard Burr said Wednesday, NBC News reported. “Anytime you deal with numbers, and I think it dealt with numbers, the question is: Is that classified or not or is there an open source reference to it. So it’s not as clear as just reading what he said. We’ve got to search all sorts of media outlets to see if anybody had reported the number independently.”
During Tuesday’s debate, Sen. Marco Rubio appeared to imply that Mr. Cruz revealed classified information when discussing government surveillance and changes in the metadata collection program.
“The old program covered 20 percent to 30 percent of phone numbers to search for terrorists, the new program covers nearly 100 percent,” Mr. Cruz said. “That gives us greater ability to stop acts of terrorism, and he knows that that’s the case.”
Mr. Rubio began his response by saying, “Let me be very careful when answering this, because I don’t think national television in front of 15 million people is the place to discuss classified information.”
Shortly after the exchange, Rebecca Glover Watkins, who acts as the Communications Director for Chairman Burr, tweeted: “Cruz shouldn’t have said that.”
A spokeswoman for Mr. Cruz said the senator did not say anything that has not already been “widely reported.”
“There’s nothing that Senator Cruz said last night that wasn’t widely reported and saturated in the public domain,” campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told NBC News.
Mr. Burr said he’s having his staff look over the transcripts of the debate. He clarified that he did not see the exchange in question because he was busy watching the final episode of NBC’s “The Voice.”
“I didn’t watch it. ‘The Voice’ was on,” he said, adding, “It was the final episode.”